GRAND Magazine - September/October 2008 - (Page 34)

full house · full heart · full time Confessions of a backyard grand By Jackie clements-marenda i put my life on hold to raise another generation W We pick out animal-shaped clouds, tell silly stories, run through the sprinkler on hot summer days, build ice castles and dance. e knew where we were going. After our children left the nest and established independent lives, Tom, my husband of 35 years, and I would travel around the world. Fate had other ideas. Fibromyalgia forced our single, 29-year-old daughter’s return to our home with Thomas, her toddler son. Medication and determination enabled her to continue work; however, as doctors can’t predict the progression of fibromyalgia, her eventually becoming bedridden was, and is, a big concern. Our daughter and grandson had lived locally: They visited; they went home. Living with them was very different. Tom adapted to the homecoming easily: his daily routine and full-time employment didn’t change. Mine did. Gone were my weekdays of browsing at Barnes & Noble, lunching with friends and joining bus trips to Atlantic City. I dubbed myself a “backyard” grandmother— a woman who has put her life on hold in order to help raise another generation. I struggled, resenting that my life had been altered by events beyond my control. The stress of trying to live in harmony with our “back in the nest-er,” being a caregiver again, has caused many mother-daughter conflicts. Our daughter gets frustrated by my reluctance to conform to her child-raising theories. She believes in “time out” and reasoning with a 4-year-old. I believe in “no cartoons for a day” or not being allowed to enjoy a favorite dessert. We have argued, cried, hated each other. Yet, while she prepares for an uncertain financial future, we manage to survive together. Daily living with Thomas has created an unbreakable bond between us. I’d forgotten what it’s like to see through the eyes of a child. We pick out animal-shaped clouds, tell silly stories, run through the sprinkler on hot summer days, build ice castles and dance. I’ve taught him the dance moves of my youth—the Jerk, the Swim, the Hustle—and he’s taught me how to stuff peas in my cheek, eat the rest of my dinner, then spit those peas intact back onto the plate. He’s also helped me acquire the skills needed to play “Mario and Sonic at the 34 GRAND SEPTEMBER OCTOBER 2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - September/October 2008

Grand Magazine- September/October 2008
Grand View:Priceless
Isn't it Grand?: Picture Perfect
Winners!: GRANDparent of the Year
Grand Central
Toddler Town:Grand-proofing
Ask Grand:Two Tired
Tips on Teens: The Bar Mitzvah Trips
Just So We Know:BPA Not Our BFF
Full House-Full Heart-Full Time:Confessions of a Backyard Grand
Grandbloggers: It Takes a Village
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
Family Food = Fun
On the Cover: Nora Roberts A Fine Romance
Everything Was Fine Until You Showed Up
Happy Big Sister Day
Looking Grand:Elementary, My Dear
All in the Family:Pasta, Present and Future
Inspirations:Grandpa's Violin
Grand Bazaar
More to the Story
Grand Finale:Long Ago Under the Sun

GRAND Magazine - September/October 2008